China claims Arunachal Pradesh as its part. Because? Before addressing the reasons, let us first discuss some historical facts about Arunachal Pradesh.
Some things you should know about Arunachal Pradesh
The northeastern region of India is made up of seven fascinating states, which are collectively called ‘seven sisters’. Arunachal Pradesh is one of these seven sisters. The history of the state dates back to the Neolithic. It was in the first millennium BC. C. when the Arunachal Pradesh region was inhabited by tribes like Adi, Mishmi, Nyishi, Monpa, Apatani and more. Over time, small independent kingdoms were organized from these tribes. These small kingdoms often came into conflict with each other.
Arunachal Pradesh then came under the influence of empires in the medieval period. The Ahom Kingdom has substantial importance in the history of Arunachal Pradesh.
The state’s name, Arunachal Pradesh, literally means “Land of the Rising Sun.”
The reason why China claims Arunachal Pradesh
China claims that Arunachal Pradesh is southern Tibet (Zangnan, as it calls it). China claims that the Arunachal Pradesh region is part of its territory. One of the reasons why China claims Arunachal Pradesh is that it has cultural and historical ties with Tibet. An adjoining district of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang occupies a unique position in the culture of Tibet. Wondering how? Well, the sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso, was actually born in the town of Urgyeling, near Tawang. Furthermore, the 14th Dalai Lama fled from the Tiber through Tawang in the year 1959. Thus, China claims Arunachal to gain its control over Tibet. To make its intentions public, China, time and again, presents fictitious maps showing Arunachal Pradesh as part of China to strengthen its claim. Additionally, it also provides new names to locations in Arunachal Pradesh. Recently, China released new names for 11 locations in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Furthermore, China uses its claim over Arunachal Pradesh as a strong bargaining chip to make India recognize Aksai Chin as China’s territory. Even in wartime in 1962, China placed substantial strategic value on the Aksai Chin region, even more than NEFA. After the end of the war, China withdrew from NEFA but maintained the Aksai Chin. As a bargaining chip, in case China manages to recognize Aksai Chin as China’s territory, it will consider NEFA (i.e. Arunachal) as belonging to India. However, despite various efforts by China, India has maintained a firm resolve in rejecting all claims of China and maintaining that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India’s territory.
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